In Carcosa you must summon the city of the Tattered King, one tile at a time!
Use your cultists to control ley lines, conduct rituals and explore the districts of Carcosa itself. If your cultists displease you, you can sacrifice them to the dark waters of Lake Hali for the pleasure of the King.
Each time you play, you summon a different Carcosa. Each player must compete for their choice from a shifting display of tile stacks.
This makes Carcosa strategic. You must decide not just what’s good for you, but also what you need to deny your opponents!
Once chosen, each unstable tile must be added to Carcosa either to expand it or to replace another unstable, unguarded tile.
This makes Carcosa rewarding. Even though you are competing, you have, together with your opponents, created a unique landscape through the game.
You will deploy your cultists to districts, ley lines and ritual sites to expand your domain, protect it and even invade your opponents.
These are familiar mechanics but each has unique thematic purpose and benefits that make them strategically different from other tile laying games.
Any tile with a yellow tint may have a hidden feature that is only revealed when the tile is “stabilised” (and flipped over)! This gives Carcosa players secret plans, the ability to bluff and the need to analyse their opponents moves to try and discern what secrets they know about Carcosa.
Carcosa played well is a game with a rhythm - you plan, you build and then you reveal over a number of turns. This makes the building tense and the successful reveal (or your opponents thwarting of it!) exciting. Carcosa is balanced to reward long-term strategies over building small things frequently.
Your cultists go mad when they succeed and must recover before they can be reused. Mechanics are built to support the theme, giving a sense of "person" to your cultists and a sense of mystery to Carcosa. (What did they see?)
You will build power in 3 ways in Carcosa:
- Occult Power will simply drive you towards victory.
- You will recruit more cultists as you explore the districts of Carcosa to gain more control over the landscape.
- You will empower Ritual Stones with game changing spells you can use later to sway the game in your favour.
Choosing what to concentrate on each turn provides short-term goals that will hopefully feed your long-term schemes!
There are two, mutually exclusive, ways to win in Carcosa. This means late in the game one or more players can be trying to win one way while the others try and thwart them and work towards their own victories. Uneasy alliances can form and are often betrayed – just like you would expect from a group mad cults with a common goal!
Each player leads a Lovecraftian Cult. Taking turns, their Prophet selects a tile representing a part of Carcosa and adds it to a ethereal landscape of ritual sites, ley lines, towers and domes. Players can then deploy Cultists to control a ley line, conduct a ritual or explore the districts they have summoned.
But Carcosa is no normal city:
- Tiles must be stabilised with power drawn from ley lines or they may be reshaped by other cults!
- New cultists may be recruited by performing the Forbidden Play at theatres you reveal!
- Your cultist will be driven mad by the power they desire or sacrificed to the horrific Feaster from Beyond for even greater power!
- Ritual stones will let you cast game-changing spells!
The game ends when a Cult completes the Summoning of the King Himself or when enough of Carcosa has been summoned that it becomes a permanent feature of our Earth. Only one Cult can succeed in one of these insane tasks - but in Lovecraft’s mythos, can one truly call that winning?
If you want to learn more about how Carcosa plays, you can read the rule book by following this link:
If enough people buy Carcosa, we will be able to enhance the game for everyone! Here's some of the extra polish we can add to the game if we make certain funding levels.
UPDATE: Carcosa is now fully stretched! Well done everybody!
(If you want to skip the banter, chat about other games and Nigel generally behaving like a gremlin in the engine room, the bit about Carcosa starts at 23m 27s.)
We will be shipping from within the EU with the distributor Games Quest so that our European and UK backers, like our US and Australian backers, will not have to pay any customs charges.
Nigel Kennington, Designer
Nigel is a one time video game designer turned educator. The rules, the rules rewrites, the rules rewrite rewrites, the glorious spelling mistakes - Nigel provides them all.
Email him! (He's needy.) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Kennington, Project Manager
Professional project manager with 20 years of experience and designer of One Free Elephant's successful first game ORE-SOME! Sarah is organising manufacturing, shipment, dealing with most of the logistical issues and generally talking to humans like a proper grownup.
Email her! (She gets stuff done.) email@example.com
David Franco Campos, Artist
Freelance artist working in both video games and board games, the superb “signature pieces” for the game - the box art, logo, rulebook illustrations and the cult mat - have been designed by David.
Jason Kimmings, Graphic Design
Professional graphic designer and photographer, Jason has designed the luxurious rulebook and enticing box base.
Colin Briggs, Modeller
An Edinburgh based lecturer with over 10 years teaching and 7 years industry experience in animation, UX and Web. Colin has contributed to the tile art and the buildings of Carcosa.
Sara Bardi, Illustrator
Designer and illustrator of the Lovely Lovecraft graphic novels, Sarah has produced the excellent graphic story, “Acceptable Sacrifice” that introduces the game.
Leeman Kessler, Voice Actor
Podcaster, actor, and the creator of the excellent web-series Ask Lovecraft has recorded the audio for our thematic intro.
Risks and challenges
This is One Free Elephant's second kickstarter.
Like ORE-SOME! we have already commissioned and paid for all art and prototyping of Carcosa - which means we can keep the goal low, the pledge low but the quality high.
All that's left to do is raise the money for the initial manufacturing run - and this is where you, the backers can help us!
As soon as the campaign finishes, we will be working with the manufacturer to start production and we project that we will the games in to your hands in time for autumn!
We're being ambitious again, but Sarah has extensive professional project management experience with offshore suppliers, delivering to tight timescales and specific experience with Longpack Games, the manufacturer from ORE-SOME!
With your help we are confident we can deliver Carcosa on time!
A note on Stretch Goals:
We need to be careful with the stretch goals. We have a list of the extra fancy bits we’d like to include in Carcosa – but it’s already a packed box of 11 punchboards, 41 wooden meeples, cards, a board and rules. We've tried hard to keep the shipping cost reasonable, but there's certain weight catagories we just can't negotiate around and we’re already in sight of them! We’re currently working with our manufacturer and distributer to make sure we maintain our “goal weight” and still ship as many stretch goals as we can. As soon as we’re sure we’ve got this locked down, we’ll be adding the full list of stretch goals to the campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)